San Juan, Puerto Rico, October 12, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos Islands Hotel and Tourism Association (TCHTA) and the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourism Board presented an impressive representation at the 40e Annual Caribbean Travel Marketplace held October 3rd-5e.
The region’s largest travel forum made an energetic and heartwarming return to its live format this year, hosted by Discover Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association.
Karen Whitt, Director of the TCHTA Board of Directors and Chair of Marketing for the Regional Event, shared, “It was a great gathering of the travel community. After nearly 3 years of virtual communications, the excitement of engaging with travel partners and friends was palpable. As the event manager, I was very proud to have such participation from the Turks and Caicos Islands. There is a beautiful shift happening right now as the region transitions into a growth mode, so having our destination here ensuring our brand is front and center is priceless.
The TCHTA, Turks & Caicos Tourist Board, Hartling Group properties, Ocean Club Resorts, Tides Grace Bay, interCaribbean Airways, The Somerset, Villa Renaissance and Seven Stars Resort were all part of the delegation representing the ‘TCI brand’.
Tanya Duelfer, General Manager of US Operations for Ocean Club Resorts, explained why Ocean Club Resorts is always represented at the annual Marketplace: “Events like this, where you can talk with your island and partners in general, are extremely effective in keeping the pulse of industry and market trends. As for the feeling of the whole event, she said, “It was good to finally be back, in person. We have worked hard over the years to establish Ocean Club Resorts within the TCI resort community and build strong relationships with our market partners. Being together in person…it’s so important to these relationships.
This year the Destination Resilience Awards were introduced with Turks and Caicos claiming first place in the Human Resources and Personnel category won by Grace Bay Car Rentals & Sales. The company stood out by demonstrating its ability to retain employees throughout the shutdown, support community food basket initiatives, provide personal and professional development opportunities for team members, new developments in business operations and to focus on sustainability. TCHTA CEO Stacy Cox accepted the award on behalf of GBCR.
More than 1,100 delegates from 28 countries, representatives from 19 buyer markets and 350 suppliers attended this year’s Marketplace, resulting in more than 14,000 appointments. The regional forum has generated new interest with the participation for the first time of buyers from Latvia, Poland, Mexico and India.
The boardroom was busy throughout, and CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig’s State of the Caribbean Hospitality Industry Address revealed that the Caribbean is now in recovery mode. growth mode, with affluent travelers driving the momentum. The data shows that the South American market should be a priority for the region and that sustainable policies must be at the forefront of the region’s growth plan. She also told travel players that regional and multi-destination travel is another growth opportunity to explore.
A key element of the Caribbean Marketplace is the opportunity for destinations to have an intimate and personal experience with the Fourth Estate. Updates, new brand campaigns, new developments and features are shared with local, regional and international journalists.
The Turks and Caicos Islands press conference was led by TCHTA CEO Stacy Cox and Acting Director of the Tourism Board Mary Lightbourne. Kicking off the session with a dynamic video presentation produced by TCHTA members Visual Storytelling and SOS Media, Cox and Lightbourne shared industry updates on recent and upcoming resort openings; the $25 million investment planned for the cruise sector; plans for the new Providenciales and South Caicos terminals; recent awards and the destination’s sustainability efforts; and the ongoing DMO transition. Media feedback has been outstanding and interest remains strong for ongoing projects in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
With forty-five appointments in two days, Turks and Caicos is always a destination of choice among buyers and their customers. TCHTA’s CEO shared, “There’s nothing like these travel community touchpoints to gauge buyer interest. We couldn’t be happier with the positive feedback we’ve received. Turks and Caicos is always a priority for travel.
Cox also received a commemorative plaque in recognition of her leadership as President of the Caribbean Society of Hotel Association Executives (CSHAE) from 2017-2020. invaluable experience. It’s always a great opportunity to hear how other destinations are doing, share best practices and build relationships with new executives for continued dialogue and partnership with our brothers and sisters in the region. .
Marketplace is considered the largest tourism marketing event in the Caribbean and is one that many TCHTA member properties make sure to be part of their annual marketing calendar. Snjezana Andrews, General Manager of The Somerset on Grace Bay, shared her property’s interest in attending: “The event, I think, could not have been at a more opportune time to reinvigorate our base, revitalize the existing relationships that may have fallen off and made into new ones; a great “meet and greet” to put faces to names and truly restore the human connection of face-to-face interactions. Buyers were energetic and ready to connect with industry partners, and according to the general mood of the event, sellers showed just as much enthusiasm. I know I did! … Kudos to CHTA for making this all possible as we all get back to normality! »
The CHTA has announced that it will likely produce the next Caribbean Marketplace event as early as spring 2023, with a host destination to be announced shortly.